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Search tags: Part-of-a-Series
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review 2017-09-19 03:51
Infected: Lesser Evils (Infected #6)
Infected: Lesser Evils - Andrea Speed

I just can't seem to stay in love with this series, but I am at least saying in like with it. Once again, there are lots of things I really like here, mostly with the characterizations and the relationship building. Holden and Scott were especially a nice surprise. But, and this is a big but, Ms. Speed just can't seem to decided where to take this story. The overall arc is well done - Roan's continued evolution/downslide as a virus child and how the virus is changing/being changed by him and vice versa. Other than that though, there are a lot of things that are introduced and then just sort of get shoved aside, forgotten or rushed at the end so at least something's kind of resolved. 

 

Still, I'm glad I'm reading these after they've all been released, because that cliffhanger is just cruel. CRUEL I SAY! 

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review 2017-09-14 03:22
Shirewode (The Wode #2) (Audiobook)
Shirewode (The Wode Book 2) - J. Tullos Hennig

 

Now this is more like it. I'm endlessly fascinated by this series and what the author has envisioned for these characters, and it has me wanting to read the original Robin Hood tales or maybe even suffer through Kevin Costner's lack-of-accent again. I want to know which characters - aside from the main, well-known ones - are part of the original tales and which ones are original characters to these stories, if any are. I'm also enjoying trying to figure out which characters will end up being who - as for instance, Friar Tuck. :D

 

I'm also pleased with how things turned out with Robyn and Gamelyn. They both had long, arduous - and separate - journeys to go on in this book in order to come back together again, so getting to see them grow up, as it were, away from each other was pretty neat. I especially like that Marion also gets her own story here, though I thought it took a little too long to come back around to her after the prologue. Still, her "reintroduction" was well-done, and Ms. Henning keeps all these threads well-balanced. It's a complicated, complex story, mixing history (The Crusades), fantasy (the old gods), and legends of our own times (the Knight Templar, and of course Robin Hood himself). And since this wasn't about two boys falling in love, but two men learning to trust again, there was much less sex and a lot more plot, and when there was sex it was plot-relevant and character-driven.

 

Ross Pendleton again narrates this one and does a stellar job. The only thing that can be rather confusing - until you realize what's going on - is the transitions between what's going on in the real world and what's going on in the otherworld or when the characters are having dreams or visions. In the books, these sections are italicized, but there's just no easy way to make that kind of distinction in audio format without using things like echo settings or, IDK, chimes to mark the beginning and ending of each section. Frankly, I'd rather just be confused until I figure it out than have to put with that nonsense. ;-)

 

PS: For those only listening to the audiobooks - you're missing the little gap-fillers, or "Solus", at the end of each book. They're not very long and you don't miss anything vital by not reading them, but they do provide some extra character insights and whatnot. 

 

Since it's been over three years since this audiobook came out, and two years since book 3 was released, I'm sadly not holding my breath that the last two books will be released in audio any time soon, so I'll be reading those my own self.

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review 2017-09-03 21:00
A Wizard of Mars (Young Wizards #9)
A Wizard of Mars - Diane Duane

It was never going to be easy to follow up Wizards at War, so I can cut Duane some slack for the unevenness of this book. It takes a long time for the central conflict to show up, and then the climax is a bit rushed. The expanding role of Carmela into this world felt forced and she nearly veers into Mary Sue territory. The whole thing with Nita and Kit maybe starting to have feelings for each other didn't exactly come out of nowhere but since they've been kept apart for most of the previous few books, it felt unearned. There was a great deal of telling versus showing when it comes to their friendship. Plus the fact of them not talking and comparing notes as a way to get all this stuff to happen on Mars in the first place just didn't feel authentic if they're supposed to be such tight friends. 

 

Still, even if this wasn't up to her usual standards, it still has all the things that have made Duane's other books in this series such good reads: imaginative settings, lush descriptions, personal conflict and stakes, and more background into a newly discovered alien race packed into a couple of hundred pages than most tv shows can manage over their entire runtimes. She makes the Shamask-Eilit real, and the use of the LP here is certainly unlike any we've seen in the previous books too, which is something I've been asking for for awhile.

 

This is far from my favorite, but once things started picking up, it made up for the somewhat slow and uneven beginning. 

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review 2017-09-03 18:40
Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate #4)
Blow Down - J.L. Merrow

More fun and snark from our psychic plumber. 

 

Tom's little secret - the ability to locate hidden objects (which occasionally includes dead bodies) and leaky pipes - is not so secret anymore now that someone let the cat out of the metaphorical bag. Tom's propensity to martyrdom allows him to be guilt-tripped into displaying his talents to the public - with the expected disastrous results.

 

Really, y'all, this is why you don't ask the guy who can find dead bodies to perform "magic" tricks. I mean, that should just go without saying.

(spoiler show)

 

I did feel the whodunit was a bit more obvious this time around and wondered why Tom and Phil didn't cotton onto them sooner. That aside though, the mystery was full of wackadoodles and cagey relatives aplenty, enough to be fun while still making you wish Tom would start wearing a helmet everywhere he goes. :P And it does seem Tom's abilities are taking on possible new skills - not that he's anymore open to testing them out than he was before.

 

I like the way Tom and Phil's relationship is progressing. There's still plenty of ways for them to miscommunicate without going the whole Big Misunderstanding route, and they trust each other enough that they don't blow everything (well, most things) out of proportion.

 

That's not the only relationship Tom has to foster here either, now that he's found his "real" dad. I like that their reunion and getting to know each other was realistically awkward and that they're taking their time getting a feel for each other. I still need to know a lot more about Mike, so hopefully we'll see that in the next book, which I'm pleased to see Ms. Merrow has planned for next year. Fingers crossed there are no delays it getting it to us. 

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review 2017-08-29 03:30
Openly Straight (Openly Straight #1) (Audiobook)
Openly Straight - Bill Konigsberg

Rafe is openly gay, has supportive parents (a little too supportive), a fairly inclusive community (a little too inclusive) and a great life. So what does he do when he realizes that his entire life has become about him being gay and nothing else? He goes to boarding school clear across the country and drops all labels that define him. 

 

This was a fun book, and often funny. The supporting cast were great, especially Alfie and Toby. It was interesting to see Rafe navigate his way through his no-labels experiment and realize that whether you use them or not, they still define you and to deny them is to deny yourself. He makes a lot of mistakes, including some big ones with his bromance bestie Ben, but he learns a lot about himself and life along the way. 

 

The narrator did a decent job. He got Rafe down perfectly and did a good job with the main supporting cast. There could've been more variation in the voices he used for the other characters, especially the girls. But he knew when to keep it light and when to get more introspective without getting schmaltzy. 

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